The White House and State Department authorized spying on the phone calls of friendly foreign leaders, U.S. intelligence officials maintain.
And staff members at the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies are angry at President Barack Obama for denying knowledge of the surveillance program revealed in leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, reports The Los Angeles Times
"People are furious," a senior intelligence official told the newspaper, adding, "This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community."
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The official explained that any decision to spy on friendly foreign leaders is made with input from the State Department, which considers the political risk, and any useful intelligence is then given to the president's counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, among other White House officials, the Times reports.
Two former intelligence officials agreed, telling the paper, "Certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous."
France, Spain and Germany, among other European allies, have publicly complained about the NSA surveillance operations, which included capturing private cellphone conversations by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Obama has claimed he was unaware that Merkel's phone had been hacked
, even though reports say the United States had been monitoring it for more than a decade.
But members of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee are demanding answers from the White House.
The group is meeting Wednesday with Karen Donfried, the senior director for European affairs for the National Security Council, reports CNN
It has been in Washington since Monday, reportedly meeting with officials from the State Department, Congress, and intelligence agencies.
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Germany is sending a separate delegation to the White House on Wednesday, according to CNN.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Obama had ordered a review of surveillance capabilities, including those affecting America's closest foreign partners.
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